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==Why did France and Britain interfere with American trading ships at sea?==
[[File:Shannon_Chesapeake.jpeg|thumbnail|left|250px|The HMS Shannon and the USS Chesapeake by W. Elmes, 1813]]
During the conflict between Britain and France, the United States remained neutral. President Thomas Jefferson wanted to maintain the United States' neutrality to continue trading with Europe. Over the next four years, tensions with Britain and France ramped up as both countries refused to honor the US's neutral status. Both countries boarded American merchant ships, impressed sailors, and searched their cargo.